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II. Old Lady Lloyd Lucy Maud Montgomery

VI. The October Chapter

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"I want her to know that I give her love for love," she murmured.

Everybody knew now how poor the Old Lady really was. She let slip all the jealously guarded secrets of her existence, except her old love for Leslie Gray. Even in delirium something sealed her lips as to that. But all else came out--her anguish over her unfashionable attire, her pitiful makeshifts and contrivances, her humiliation over wearing unfashionable dresses and paying only five cents where every other Sewing Circle member paid ten. The kindly women who waited on her listened to her with tearfilled eyes, and repented of their harsh judgments in the past.

"But who would have thought it?" said Mrs. Spencer to the minister's wife. "Nobody ever dreamed that her father had lost ALL his money, though folks supposed he had lost some in that old affair of the silver mine out west. It's shocking to think of the way she has lived all these years, often with not enough to eat--and going to bed in winter days to save fuel. Though I suppose if we had known we couldn't have done much for her, she's so desperate proud. But if she lives, and will let us help her, things will be different after this. Crooked Jack says he'll never forgive himself for taking pay for the few little jobs he did for her. He says, if she'll only let him, he'll do everything she wants done for her after this for nothing. Ain't it strange what a fancy she's took to Miss Gray? Think of her doing all those things for her all summer, and selling the grape jug and all. Well, the Old Lady certainly isn't mean, but nobody made a mistake in calling her queer. It all does seem desperate pitiful. Miss Gray's taking it awful hard. She seems to think about as much of the Old Lady as the Old Lady thinks of her. She's so worked up she don't even seem to care about going to Europe next year. She's really going--she's had word from Andrew Cameron. I'm awful glad, for there never was a sweeter girl in the world; but she says it will cost too much if the Old Lady's life is to pay for it."

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Andrew Cameron heard of the Old Lady's illness and came out to Spencervale himself. He was not allowed to see the Old Lady, of course; but he told all concerned that no expense or trouble was to be spared, and the Spencervale doctor was instructed to send his bill to Andrew Cameron and hold his peace about it. Moreover, when Andrew Cameron went back home, he sent a trained nurse out to wait on the Old Lady, a capable, kindly woman who contrived to take charge of the case without offending Mrs. Spencer-- than which no higher tribute could be paid to her tact!

The Old Lady did not die--the Lloyd constitution brought her through. One day, when Sylvia came in, the Old Lady smiled up at her, with a weak, faint, sensible smile, and murmured her name, and the nurse said that the crisis was past.

The Old Lady made a marvellously patient and tractable invalid. She did just as she was told, and accepted the presence of the nurse as a matter of course.

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Chronicles of Avonlea
Lucy Maud Montgomery

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